Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Can you get a tummy tuck if you are overweight

Tummy tucks are very common among women who want an improvement of their abdomen or waistline. However, when it comes to getting a tummy tuck, the question that often arises is: “Can I get a tummy tuck if I am overweight?”

The answer to this question is yes and no. In this article, we’ll discuss whether you can get a tummy tuck if you are overweight and what kind of risks are involved.

What Is A Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is also known as an abdominoplasty, which is a surgical procedure designed to remove excess skin from the abdominal area and tighten up the muscles underneath the skin. The procedure typically requires general anesthesia and takes about two hours to complete. Afterward, patients will have to wear compression garments for several weeks after their surgery in order for their new body contours to be maintained.

How Much Does a Tummy Tuck Cost?

The cost of getting a tummy tuck varies depending on where you live, how much experience your surgeon has had with these types of procedures before (and after), whether they offer financing options through third-party lenders like CareCredit (which can be paid off over time with interest payments.

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Can you get a tummy tuck if you are overweight

Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty is a procedure that flattens your waist by eliminating extra fat and skin while also tightening the muscles in your tummy. Losing weight for surgery and being at an ideal weight for tummy tuck is important to maximise the surgical outcome and reduce surgical risks.


Being overweight can negatively impact your self-esteem and confidence, which can inhibit you from participating in social gatherings. In spite of following strict diets and performing heavy exercises, losing excess skin can be a herculean task. While you may have good muscle mass, the excess fat and skin surrounding the muscle underneath may result in unappealing body contour. Abdominoplasty surgery helps to recontour the body and improve your body aesthetics.


If you experienced pregnancy or huge weight loss before, you may have stretch marks due to skin and muscle stretching. Many topical treatments, skin tightening tools and scar removal creams are available in the market but not really effective. Tummy Tuck after weight loss can be a good option for you if you are seeking to tighten your loose belly or treat diastasis recti after pregnancy.
Plastic surgeons highly recommend their patients to be near ideal weight or Body Mass Index (BMI) prior to the surgery.

  • Ideal weight helps faster recovery because obesity impedes wound healing
  • Low surgical complications
  • Less postoperative pain and infection
  • Maintained body contour long after the surgery
  • Sustained achievement of targeted goals long after the surgery

Consider that BMI is not enough to evaluate if you’re a good candidate for a tummy tuck. Since BMI does not take into account muscle mass, body proportions, age, and sex, it is sometimes not accurate for measuring body fat.

What BMI Is Good for Tummy Tuck?

BMI below 30 considered as an ideal BMI for tummy tuck, but you can have a tummy tuck with good results even if you are overweight. BMI 35 is the maximum acceptable BMI for tummy tuck. One thing that you should keep in your mind is the closer you are to your BMI, the better the final result you can get.

Most surgeons would not perform tummy tuck if your BMI is greater than 40. However, some surgeons do not operate even if your BMI is greater than 30 due to surgical and anaesthesia risk. If your BMI is between 30 and 40, it’s important to consult your surgeon to determine your suitability for surgery.

If you lose additional weight after surgery, then your abdominal skin will again become saggy and you will have to undergo tummy tuck again. So, it will be better if you first lose weight as much as possible, then consider undergoing tummy tuck surgery.

Why BMI Is Important for Surgery?

Lose weight for surgery and attaining a healthy weight before undergoing plastic surgery will enhance your surgery results. More importantly, achieving a recommended BMI will minimise the risks associated with both the anaesthesia and the procedure itself.

In fact, patients with a BMI over 30 are at greater risk during any surgery, not just cosmetic procedures. Besides, obese clients often have other health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems, which are further drawbacks for surgery.

What Is the Ideal Weight for Tummy Tuck?

The ideal weight for tummy tuck is when you are around 5-7kg from your goal weight. This is important as weight loss after tummy tuck or gaining weight can undo the contour achieved through your surgery.

The exact weight can vary based on your height, age and gender, but most plastic surgeons rely on you to be close to your target goal weight as the ideal weight you should be prior to tummy tuck.

What Is BMI and How It Affects Surgery Results?

operation diet bmi chart

A Body Mass Index or BMI is a value to classify and categorize whether a person lies within a healthy body weight or in layman’s terms. BMI is a value to characterize a person as underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese based on tissue mass and height. The BMI compares your body weight² (kg) over your height² (m²) to gain a value that gives us a general estimate of your health. However, this is not an absolute depiction of your current health status as it doesn’t take your gender, age, existing health conditions, or body definitions into consideration.

General BMI ranges are as below:

  • Underweight – BMI below 18
  • Healthy Weight – Between18 and 25
  • Overweight – Between 25 and 30
  • Obese – Between 30 and 35
  • Severely Obese – Between 35 and 40
  • Morbidly Obese – Over 40

As your BMI will determine the results from the surgery that includes how long your surgery results will persist and how aesthetically pleasing they look. The maximum allowed BMI for plastic surgery is 40, Dr prefers BMI closer to 30.

Risks of Having Surgery with Overweight BMI

Anesthetics are medications that put patients to sleep during the surgery. During the administration of anesthetics, obesity can cause patients the following common problems;

Figuring out the correct dosage of anesthetics required.
Locating the vein used to administer anaesthetics and other emergency medications intravenously.
The presence of excess fatty tissue can further hinder with the administration of the medication.
Difficulty while inserting the breathing tube.

How to Lose Weight Before Surgery

pre surgery weight loss diet plan

If your BMI is anywhere from 18 to 30, you can continue with your regular meals before the surgery. However, in cases where the BMI is above 40, the rapid weight loss diet program can be undertaken. In this type of diet, you can lose more than 1-2.5 kilograms a week over several weeks.
These diets help to lose weight for surgery quickly and are less commonly suggested by health care providers. As the hormonal and bodily stress caused by rapid weight loss may not be safe for some people to do on their own they should be closely monitored by a supervisor.

*Here you can find some diet for quick weight loss before surgery, but they are usually not recommended for more than several weeks.

Very Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD)

On this pre surgery diet, you may have as few as 800 calories a day and may lose up to 1.5 to 2 kg a week. The food that you will be intaking will be mostly meal replacements, such as formulas, soups, shakes, and bars instead of regular meals. This ensures that you get all of the nutrients, while also keeping you on a restricted diet plan.
A VLCD is only recommended for adults who are obese and need to lose weight for health reasons. These diets are often use to lose weight for surgery. You should only use a VLCD under the supervision of your provider and not recommend using it for more than 12 weeks.

Low-Calorie Diet (LCD)

The calorie intake in LCD is 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day for men. However, you should still be overseen by a provider. An LCD is much better than VLCD; however, you will not lose weight as fast as VLCD, but you can lose just as much weight with a VLCD. The meals are usually a mix of meal replacements and regular food making it easier to follow than VLCD.

Time-Restricted Eating

Time-restricted eating restricts the number of hours per day that you can eat. One of the most prevalent approaches is ’16/8 Intermittent Fasting’. During this time-restricted eating plan, you can eat your meals only during these 8 hours, say from 10 am to 6 pm. After these 8 hours, you are not allowed to eat anything for the remaining 16 hours. Even though this method can help in rapid weight loss, but there is little knowledge about whether the weight loss is maintained.

Fad Diets

Fad diets severely limit calories to achieve rapid weight loss. These diets are not considered safe and do not warrant long-term weight loss.
You are at risk for reacquiring the weight you lost if you return to your former eating habits or stop following the diet plan.

FAQs

weight loss surgery healthy eating

How Much Weight Can I Lose From Tummy Tuck Surgery?

If you are seeking tummy tuck after weight loss or pregnancy to restore your stomach contour, you will probably lose up to 2 kg of excess skin after the procedure. Some people lose 14kg or more while some don’t notice a significant weight loss.

Will My Waist Get Smaller After a Tummy Tuck?

Yes, tummy tuck can make your waist smaller due to removing excess fat and skin. It’s important to consider that only subcutaneous belly fat can be removed through this surgery. Full abdominoplasty helps patients lose clothing sizes and inches in their midsection but weight loss is usually not significant.

Will I Have a Scar After Tummy Tuck?

Your tummy tuck scars will be present below the bikini line, which will originally be a smooth, pale pink, linear incision. During the maturation process, which lasts approximately 1 year, the scar will change in colour and appearance. At approximately 2-3 months after surgery, the scar may become reddened and slightly raised due to collagen formation in the scar. You can easily manage the appearance of these scars with various topical and non-surgical treatments.

How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Month?

Rapid weight loss for surgery can be achieved by undertaking pre surgery diet plans such as the Very Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD) or the Low-Calorie Diet (LCD). You can lose the same amount of weight through either of the plans but weight loss through LCD is slow when compared to VLCD. You can lose anywhere from 1.5 to 2 kg per week for several weeks through the VLCD plan. This roughly equates to 6 to 8 kg per month. However, VLCD is not recommended for more than 12 weeks.

Is There a Weight Limit for Anesthesia?

Medications that put patients to sleep during the surgery are anaesthesia. The most commonly preferred anesthesia during plastic or cosmetic surgery is general anesthesia. Even though general anesthesia is safe, the excess amount of fat can cause problems for both the patients and the surgeon. During the administration of anesthetics on obese patients, the following common problems are commonly encountered:

  • Figuring out the correct dosage of anesthetics required,
  • Difficulty locating the vein used to intravenously administer anesthetics and other emergency medications.
  • The presence of excess fatty tissue can further prevent the administration of the anaesthetics.
  • Difficulty while inserting the breathing tube

There can be a higher risk of surgical and anaesthetic complications if you have a BMI over 30. Dr recommends losing weight for surgery or being on a pre surgery diet.

Can You Have Surgery if You Are Overweight?

Apart from Bariatric surgery and liposuction, losing weight for surgery is necessary. However, losing 5-10% of your weight will steer you clear of risks while performing the surgery and gives you a longer-lasting and better result. The preferred BMI for plastic and cosmetic surgery is somewhere near to 30, but surgery can perform up to BMI 40.

How your BMI impacts your Tummy Tuck surgery results

Have you ever wondered if your BMI or weight will impact your Tummy Surgery results? Are you exploring Abdominoplasty and liposuction after having children or losing weight? You may wonder if you’re FIT and LEAN enough to get a good result. If so, you’re not alone. Most Tummy Tuck Surgery patients (but not all) are carrying a bit of excess weight. This blog will help explain how your BMI can impact your surgery result.

Are you carrying too much weight to get a good outcome from a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction?

Are you at a good weight for body contouring abdominoplasty surgery? Or do you need to reach a lower, stable weight before your surgery performed?

  • It really depends on the individual patient.
  • A consultation is the best way to gain a clearer indication of your suitability for any body contouring procedure.

That noted the a good surgery candidate will have  a BMI of 30 or below. Some surgeons will operate on patients as high as BMI 35-39 but most will NOT operate on a patient of BMI 40 or above.

If you are overweight or in the obesity BMI range of 30 or above, you’re less likely to be a suitable candidate for surgery.

Another consideration for surgery is whether your weight is stable or wildly fluctuating throughout a year.

am-i-too-overweight-for-surgery-abdominoplasty

But an IDEAL BMI – a healthier lower BMI more in the 25-29 range, may get you an even better surgery result.

If you’re wondering how your current body weight and BMI might impact your surgery results, whether a Tummy tuck, liposuction or other procedure, read this important blog on how weight changes and body fat ratios can impact your results.

Download My Tummy Tuck Guide

Tummy Tuck Guide Download

7 ways weight and body mass index can impact tummy tuck or liposuction surgery results.

Before you do further research into your Abdominoplasty/Tummy Tuck options, it’s important to keep the following in mind.

1: Good recovery processes after Plastic Surgery require good health.

  • Your immune system impacts your surgery experience, wound healing/scar formation and other recovery experiences.
  • Your body’s immune system is REDUCED when you are carrying too much weight or eating unhealthily.
  • Reduced immunity leaves you more susceptible to experiencing unwanted surgical complications and other risks.

“So the better your overall health, including your BMI, the better your entire surgery experience is likely to be.”

2: Your body fat index or BMI is also a factor in inflammation levels and healing responses.

  • Unhealthy body weight and/or chronic inflammation CAN impact patient-safety both during and after your operation.
  • It can impact post-operative pain, inflammation and infection risks.
  • Higher inflammation levels also usually mean you’ll tend to have more swelling, bruising, fluid retention, pain and discomfort than if you were at a lower BMI.

3: Excess Fat Also Means A Fatty Liver.

  • Being overweight or obese – with a high BMI – is associated with having what’s called a fatty liver.
  • This means your healthy liver tissue cells have become “replaced” or interspersed with fat cells. This greatly impedes the function of your liver and puts you at higher health and higher surgery risks.

4: Why is reaching a stable, healthy weight so important before you have surgery?

  • Your weight – and your daily nutritional intake – impact your surgery experience, healing processes and overall satisfaction with results over time.
  • When you schedule cosmetic or plastic surgery, it’s important to go into the surgery with the healthiest BMI you can achieve.

For you to achieve the best results from your surgery it’s crucial that you sustain a healthy weight and lifestyle over time.

  • A healthy lifestyle and healthy BMI helps you DURING your operation AND in the months and years that follow your surgery.
  • If you’re at a healthy weight/ideal BMI, you’ll likely end up getting a more visually pleasing result.
  • You’ll also be more likely to sustain a firmer, trimmer abdomen and well-defined waistline for longer (years versus months).

Plus – you’ll be more likely to have realistic expectations.

  • It’s important to recognise that Abdominoplasty Surgery results depend as much on YOUR choices as on the Surgical techniques and initial results.
  • So having an ideal weight/healthier BMI typically means you’ll REDUCE your obesity-related risks during surgery, including of developing sepsis  (a potentially fatal illness for which overweight/obese patients have higher risks) compared to healthy-weight patients having a surgical procedure.
bmi-best-surgery results for-tummy-tuck-with-lipo-melbourne

5: How is BODY WEIGHT/BMI linked with realistic expectations about surgery, results and what it can – and can’t – accomplish?

What you do DOES MATTER in terms of your results and long-term satisfaction with your surgical investment.

‘When you recognise that you’re responsible for the longevity of your surgery results – you’ll be likely to understand not only the BENEFITS of having surgery – but what surgery CANNOT accomplish.”

You’ll recognise that Abdominoplasty surgery is a serious option, not the go-to method for a quick fix for your weight gain concerns.

  • Surgery is NOT a fix for weight problems, as you’ll discuss during your consultation with Dr Wyten.
  • Instead, surgery is an option for reducing excess skin folds and some excess fat that cannot be exercised away.
  • Surgery can also repair damaged abdominal muscles after pregnancy or weight loss (diastasis recti) to restore core strength and reduce back pain.

Surgery has certain risks that you need to consider carefully before proceeding with a body shaping procedure. One of those risks is being dissatisfied with results because you weren’t sustaining a stable, healthy BMI.

BMI and surgery results for-tummy-tuck-or-liposuction

6: What happens if I gain weight or get pregnant after a Tummy Tuck or liposuction?

  • If you gain weight again or lose-and-gain weight repeatedly after your surgery, you’ll greatly impede your results – your shape is going to change.
  • Future pregnancy will also change your Abdominoplasty or liposuction surgery results and your satisfaction with longer-term outcomes.

Ageing changes your results over time even if you stay at the same weight, but weight fluctuations usually reduce patient satisfaction with results.

  • Weight changes or weight gain AFTER an operation may leave you feeling less satisfied with your body shape and/or waistline shaping results.
  • Alternatively, if you keep fit and stable in your weight, you’re more likely to be happier with your Tummy Tuck results for a longer period of time.

These are great reasons to find ways to reach a stable and sustainable healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) before your surgery. A stable weight is one you’ve reached and sustained by making lifestyle changes for a minimum of six months, but ideally for several years.

7: What does it mean to have a healthy BMI or ideal body weight?

  • The word “healthy” means that your BMI is near – OR IN – a healthy or normal range VS being in the overweight or obese BMI range.
  • A healthy BMI is NOT in the overweight or obesity category, although some overweight individuals may be healthier than others.
    • Even though some obese patients are somewhat fit, a high BMI indicates compromised health and immunity functions and potentially a fatty liver.
    • Obesity increases surgery risks including but not limited to; circulation concerns (DVT) and wound breakdowns.
  • Whilst SOME obese individuals are relatively healthy, if you fall into the OVER 30 BMI range, you’re really not a good candidate for surgery and over a BMI of 40 most surgeons will not operate.
  • Most overweight individuals will incur higher surgery risks or may find they are not suitable candidates, as they won’t get a good result.

Ideal body weight is typically within a healthy BMI range, although everyone’s ideal goal weight will be unique to their genetics and body shape. Aim for a healthy, sustainable weight before you have surgery.

Further reading on BMI and Surgery Results

BMI and surgery results with Melbourne plastic surgeons

So what does your BMI status actually mean?

  • Interpretations vary somewhat as to the impact your BMI has, other than obesity.
  • Different medical professionals may have different views of the data. Plus individual patients can vary in health outcomes and risks even though they have a similar BMI status.
  • According to the World Health Organisation, your BMI indicates whether you are at a so-called ‘normal weight range’ for your height, or whether you are in the underweight, overweight or obesity ranges.
bmi-according-to-world-health-organisation-who-obesity

Obesity and Plastic Surgery risks.

Having an elevated BMI does not guarantee you’re NOT healthy. It DOES, however, increase your surgery risks. It is also LIKELY to suppress your immunity responses and impede your recovery processes.

  • Here’s a graph indicating that even overweight individuals may be healthy, and even underweight individuals may be unhealthy – but it is far less likely.
  • Aim for normal weight or a BMI under 30 before you consider having a surgical procedure to reshape your body after pregnancy or weight loss.

How can I calculate my BMI?

BMI and surgery results

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height.  But there are easy to use BMI calculations – we like this one from the Heart Foundation.

Calculate your BMI quickly with the Heart Foundation’s BMI Calculator. Table of BMI Scales / Body Mass Index Ranges (Source: WHO)

For more information Download Medicare and Health Insurance Guide!

Medicare Download

Do I need to lose weight before having surgery such as a Tummy Tuck or Liposuction?

  • Typically the answer is YES, most of us DO need to get our weight in check before we have body contouring surgery.
  • That’s because losing weight BEFORE plastic surgery – and reaching a healthier, sustainable “happy” weight – goes a long way to getting a good abdominoplasty or liposuction result.
  • Contact us for more details about resources to lose weight.
  • Phone (03) 8849 1444 and ask about Melbourne based nutritionists or Weight Loss Surgeons.

Watch the Animated Tummy Tuck Surgery Video

Find out what you need to achieve to be a good candidate for Tummy Tuck, Liposuction or Breast Surgery procedures.

Body SurgeryTummy Tuck

About Dr Rebecca Wyten

Melbourne Specialist Plastic Surgeon

dr-Rebecca-Wyten-Specialist-Plastic-Surgeon-Melbourne

Dr Rebecca Wyten is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon from Melbourne. Patients choose Dr Wyten for just some of the following reasons:

  • Female Plastic Surgeon is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery.
  • 21 years of expertise in the field of plastic surgery, particularly breast augmentation surgery.
  • A ‘Fellow’ of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. FRACS
  • Most up to date techniques for fat transfer or fat grafting to the breast.
  • Warm, engaging and down to earth and is highly regarded by her patient

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